National Hospital & Health-System Pharmacy Week is October 21-27, 2012. VA pharmacists are dedicated to the safety of Veterans and getting their medications right – the first time, every time. The dedicated pharmacists at Lebanon VA Medical Center want you to know that they play new and vital roles in patient care. The evolution has been especially dramatic in recent years as pharmacists have moved beyond compounding and dispensing medications to becoming vital members of multidisciplinary patient-care teams. “Many patients are not aware that pharmacists play a critical role in preventing medication errors, advising prescribers on the best drug choices and working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to use their medications safely and effectively,” said Paul Carnes, Chief of Pharmacy. “Pharmacy Week is a great way to educate the public about how pharmacists can help them get the most benefit from their medicine.”
Pharmacists are experts on the thousands of medications which are available, how each one works in the body and the ways to use each one safely and effectively. Pharmacists who graduate today receive six years of education focused on medication therapy and many pharmacists practicing in hospitals and health systems also complete post-graduate residency programs. They advise doctors and nurses on the best medications and monitor every patient’s medication therapy and provide quality checks to detect and prevent harmful drug interactions, reactions or mistakes.
Hospital and health-system pharmacists have been able to take on enhanced patient-care roles because of a number of factors, including the deployment of highly trained, certified technicians and new technologies like robotics that dispense medications. As technology evolves—such as the addition of machine-readable codes to medication labels—patients will have greater opportunities to have a pharmacist involved in their care.
The next time you’re picking up your prescription, tell your pharmacist how much you appreciate their dedication and attention to detail.